Editor’s note: The Bankrate Score considers a mortgage lender’s products and services only; it is not a reflection of a lender’s internal operations or practices. We continuously evaluate each lender we review to ensure the Bankrate Score is consistent with this methodology. If you’d like to consider other lenders, visit Bankrate’s lender review hub.

Sunny beaches, a foodie’s paradise, the heart of the entertainment industry and a booming tech scene — there are so many reasons to think about moving to Los Angeles. To buy a home here, though, you’re likely going to need to borrow a big chunk of cash, as Los Angeles is one of the least affordable housing markets in the U.S. That high sticker price means that it’s more important than ever to compare offers from multiple mortgage lenders to find the most competitive APR and the lowest fees. Here are some of the best options to consider in Southern California.


Methodology

To determine the best mortgage lenders by city, Bankrate evaluated lenders based on several criteria, including affordability (APR, discounts and/or incentives); availability (approval/closing timelines, loan products); and experience (application process, customer service). We also used Bankrate’s comparison tool to get a feel for the types of offers available to homebuyers with different credit score ranges and down payment sums looking to buy in the Los Angeles metro area.


Best Los Angeles mortgage lenders

Direct Home Lending

Direct Home Lending review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, investment property, reverse mortgage 620 for conventional loans; 680 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans and VA loans Most closings in 30 days or less; convenient online rate tool displays different options including fees You’re looking for a jumbo loan

Pros

  • Jumbo loans up to $10 million with a lower minimum credit score
  • Low-down payment loan options

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans
  • Doesn’t offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or home equity loans

Lower

Lower mortgage review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, HELOC, home equity loan, investment property 620 for conventional loans; 580 for FHA loans and VA loans Offers a down payment savings matching program; Free Refi for Life program will waive fees if you ever refinance You’re looking for an FHA loan

Pros

  • Closings on purchases take an average of 21 days
  • All-online process makes applying easy and fast
  • Free Refi for Life program

Cons

  • Charges $995 lender fee for new purchases
  • High upfront costs for discount points

Better.com

Better.com mortgage review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, bridge loan 620 for conventional loans Three-minute preapprovals; 24/7 support You’re looking to refinance and you have excellent credit

Pros

  • Digital experience ideal for tech-savvy borrowers
  • No lender fees
  • Closes 10 days faster than the industry average

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer VA or USDA loans
  • Doesn’t offer HELOCs or home equity loans

LoanMonkey

LoanMonkey mortgage review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA 680 for conventional loans Upfront fee disclosure with online rate tool; e-closings eliminate the need for in-person hassles You want to make a lower down payment

Pros

  • E-closings
  • Down payments as low as 3 percent of purchase price
  • Average closing time of 30 days

Cons

  • Higher minimum credit score needed to qualify
  • Charges lender fees

Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United Home Loans review

Loans offered Credit requirements Highlights Good if
Purchase and refinance; conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA 620 for conventional loans and VA loans Considers non-traditional credit data; 24/7 support; free credit counseling services You’re looking for a VA loan

Pros

  • Specializes in VA loans
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Thousands of five-star customer reviews and a strong track record (financed more than $25 billion in loans in 2020)

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer HELOCs or home equity loans
  • Charges lender fees in some cases
  • 620 minimum credit score

Local Los Angeles mortgage lenders

Bank of the West

  • Good if: You want to get your mortgage at the same place you do banking

Bank of the West has locations across the L.A. metro area, and the bank offers a wide range of mortgage programs, including jumbo loans up to $4 million and home equity loans. There are other notable benefits to looking here including rate discounts for existing banking customers who set up automatic payments and down payment assistance programs for eligible borrowers.

Wells Fargo

While many banks won’t bother considering your application if you don’t have pristine credit, Wells Fargo has options for those who want to buy a home but lack much of a credit history. To help you qualify for a mortgage, the bank can consider alternative data — rent payments and utility bills, for example. You might also be able to take advantage of the bank’s “Dream. Plan. Home.” Program, designed to help low- to moderate-income borrowers become homeowners.

OneUnited Bank

  • Good if: You’re a first-time homebuyer and qualify for the bank’s Unity Home Loan program

As the largest Black-owned bank in the country and the first online Black bank, OneUnited has homebuyer programs that aim to help empower Black homebuyers in three select markets in the country: Boston, Miami and Los Angeles. While in-person locations are limited — there is one branch on Crenshaw — you can also contact a loan consultant for assistance with your mortgage application.

What to know when getting a mortgage in Los Angeles

Before you start comparing lenders that serve borrowers in Los Angeles, you’ll want to take a look at a map of the area to determine where your budget can stretch the furthest. The county covers more than 4,000 square miles, so living in L.A. can carry different implications for your budget depending on where exactly you buy a home. For example, the median price of a home in Los Angeles was $950,000 as of the end of 2021, according to Redfin. If you move further from the beach, though, that price tag — and the level of competition — drops. In downtown Los Angeles, the median price is more than $300,000 cheaper.

If this is your first time getting a mortgage, you might be able to secure some assistance, too. California’s first-time homebuyer programs include down payment assistance, which can help you borrow money for down payment and closing cost expenses with a deferred payment plan (you’ll pay the money back when you sell the home or refinance your mortgage). You’ll likely need to attend a homebuyer education course to be eligible, but that homework is well worth the potential savings and the ability to begin building equity in a home. Be sure to look local, too. The Los Angeles County Development Authority offers a range of programs for eligible first-time homebuyers.

While the prices in Los Angeles might seem daunting, there is some good news that can help you feel a bit more comfortable as you begin your search: The market here isn’t as fast-paced as some other major destinations. As of the end of 2021, properties were available on the market for an average of about 40 days, according to Redfin — a lifetime compared with places like San Jose, where they’re typically scooped up in 10. So, don’t feel too rushed. Once you get an attractive offer from a lender, lock in your rate so you can avoid paying more if rates rise before you’re ready to buy.

Summary: Best Los Angeles mortgage lenders

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